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Gulf War Syndrome Mention gulf war syndrome and many people question if it actually exists. That's because the federal government did not acknowledge the illness was related to veterans' service in the Gulf war.

But now a report confirms It's legitimate.

The first Gulf War took place between 1990 and 1991 and one in four veterans or about two hundred thousand soldiers reported problems when they returned. The symptoms include persistent memory and concentration problems, widespread pain, gastrointestinal problems, chronic headaches and a myriad of other chronic ailments.

Seven years after the war Congress finally mandated the creation of a committee to investigate. Now a 452 page report has been released. It confirms the symptoms are real and carries an increased risk for developing Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The report cites the cause of the disorders as multiple "biological alterations" in the brain and nervous system. Research has found that veterans with Gulf War illness had significant differences in brain structure and function.

One reason may be that Gulf war fighters were given pyridostigmine bromide tablets to protect them from the effects of nerve gas. The troops were also exposed to dangerous pesticides during the war.

Other factors include exposure to low levels of nerve gas, multiple vaccinations, and possibly smoke from the oil fires although the link could not be proven. The report ruled out causes such as exposure to anthrax, depleted uranium, and infectious diseases among others.

The committee calls for more effective treatments and more funding to develop better therapies. You know Norbert, this whole situation reminds me of the Agent Orange controversy after the Vietnam war.

That's when Veterans' complaints of chronic illness were ignored until years later when the link to the herbicide was made. It's a shame our government has to relearn the lessons of history.

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The New Scientist published a short article announcing the results of the government report about Gulf War Syndrome.
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The official government report on Gulf War Syndrome can be accessed here.

The Public Broadcasting System has posted an interview with James Binns, Chair, Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses about the report here.

MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations. MedlinePlus also has extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and latest health news. They have assembled a page of information and resources on the Veterans and their health.
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